I was looking for a nice red wine for dinner down on LBI this weekend. The meal called a Pinot Noir and I was looking over the selection at what I consider the best wine and liquor store on Long Beach Island, Neptune Wine and Liquors in Harvey Cedars.
Diana suggested I look for something else because she knows how hard its for me to find a Pinot Noir I really like. It is terrible thing being spoiled by the best Pinot of Burgundy and Washington state, and the good ones tend to be expensive.
But then I spotted this nice looking bottle Bacchus Ginger Cuvee. It was only $14 so I decided to give it a whirl.
When I got it home and had my first taste I was very pleased.
The wine is named after Ginger, whose dad is David Gordon the noted the Wine Director of Tribeca Grill since 1990. David used his rich contacts in Napa and Sonoma to source and produce wine under the Bacchus and Jeanne Marie labels. This one is perfect and went perfectly with our sea shore dinner.
Ok, it is not officially summer, but in my world Memorial Day is always the beginning of NJ Shore beach season so today it is summer to me.
And with summer comes summer cocktails, this year I am excited about cocktails made with the fabulous pomegranate juice Liqueur called PAMA.
I gotted turned on to this at the South African restaurant and bar called Braii in New York City where they use Pama to make their brunch exotic tropical fruit Mimosa's with South African sparkling wine.
It seems like I have passed by Obal's Inn a million times. It's on Broad Street in Bloomfield, across the street from Gencarelli's Bakery. A few years ago my good friend Ben told me about their fantastic weekly "rib night." I have been meaning to go there ever since.
A few months ago a sign went up offering microbrews and rib night twice a week. I became more determined. Coincid- entally I had breakfast with Ben this morning and I decided. Tonight I go to Obal's. Diana was off playing Mah Jong so it was boys night out, just Pierce and I.
So here's the deal. I can't believe I have been missing this gem for so many years. Ok, Obal's is not all that beautiful from the outside, not that pretty on the inside, but what the place lacks in beauty it makes up for in a big way with heart and soul. This is your classic neighborhood bar that has probably not changed much since the Jane family took it over 25 years ago.
We feasted on the magnificent ribs, that truly deserve to be famous, very tasty wings, fries cole slaw, frsh shoestring fries and some very good beer.
A friend gave me a bottle of Wyndham Estates Bin 222 Chardonnay and I was pleasantly surprised. I know it is wrong but I tend to disregard the huge wine producers like Wyndham. Granted they are Australia's oldest vineyard, producing since 1828 they must be doing something right. But, How good can a $10 Chardonnay be? Well it turns out very good.
We enjoyed this bottle at home with Pickle-Brined Chicken, grilled under a brick, a Zucchini, Avacado Mint Salad and roasted Yukon Golds. More on the food below.
Nigel Dolan is the winemaker behind this wine that has won numerous awards over the years.
When you try it, open it, and let it sit for about 30 minutes, with this bit of patience you will be rewarded, letting the this wine breath and come to life.
Soave is a wine I would really like you to get to know. It is very food friendly and just gets better and better with every vintage. It is made in the the Veneto region of Northern Italy, in and around the municipalities of Soave with a wonderful grape, called Garganega and some times Trebbiano di Soave. It is one of our favorite wines.
We have written about Soave here before. Today we are sharing a tasting of two wines of 2009 vintage, Rocca Sveva Soave Classico DOC 2009 and Cantina del Castello Classico DOC 2009. We are very happy with both.
DOC of course means Denominazione di Origine Controllata, "Classico" with "Soave" the designation means the grapes are harvested and vinified only in Soave and Monteforte d'Alpone producing the best of this wine.
Soave has a wonderful straw yellow color with a slight green hue, it looks beautiful glistening in the sun, it has lovely white flower, honey and white peach flavors with some times a touch of almond. It is meant to be drunk young.
There is still time to visit Eataly where it is Soave Month through May.
Diana and I are suddenly regulars at Uptown in Upper Montclair, since the new owners, Emilie Kartika, Ora Kemp, Ruben Mora and Christian Quiros have transformed it from good to great.
The menu looks much the same with a wonderful selection of salads, small plates, pizzas, burgers and entrees. Chef Christian Quiros works miracles in his kitchen. What is new is the fabulously welcoming and friendly family atmosphere and service that just makes you want to come back again and again.
The dining room is newly decorated with warm colors and pleasing flowery accents. The cheerful staff seem to be a very happy family themselves, more than eager to see to your perfect dining experience. Ruben appears to be one of the primary dynamics behind this welcome change. With his vibrant Cuban roots and experience in his father's 3 restaurants in Mexico City he is very ready for the job. And of course there's Ora Kemp, who managed Uptown prior to assuming ownership. Ruben gives her all the credit. Ora brings a world of hospitality experience to 596. I am looking forward to meeting her.
We have dined at Uptown 596 three times since the new opening and loved every meal, but I have words of advice, call for a reservation, as Uptown 596 is "much busier than we expected" says the charming Emilie, who places her own wonderful mark on this place I think you will love.
Natalie MacLean is one of my favorite wine and food writers, her website Natalie Decants is filled with great stories and wine ideas for the experienced or the novice.
It was only natural for her to produce an iPhone and Blackberry app. This is her second round and it is great. It may seem easy to produce an app like this, but to get it right it actually takes considerable effort.
In Natalie's words it was "fun and painful developing this newfangled, label-scanning mobile app ... the fun part is being done."
With this app you can become an instant wine and food expert and impress your friends big time.